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  • Narcissism poisonous for men

    - American researchers found that narcissistic men exhibit increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone related to cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks.ā€¯Despite their grandiose self-perceptions, narcissists have fragile views of themselvesā€¯ leading to aggression, David Reinhard comments.

    Being narcissistic and male appears to be an unhealthy combination. American researchers published findings in the open access journal PLoS One indicating that men with narcissistic character traits have chronically higher cortisol levels correlated with cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks.

    Past research already showed that narcissism is more likely to be found among men. Psychologist Sara Konrath (University of Michigan) and her colleagues now conducted tests with undergraduate students ranking their personality and measuring cortisol levels, a hormone related to stress.

    Narcissism consists of five different personality traits among which are "unhealthy" ones like Exploitativeness and Entitlement (correlated with anxiety and depression), and healthier ones like Leadership/Authority, Superiority/Arrogance, Self-Absorption/Self-Admiration. Tests now showed that especially male study participants with unhealthy narcissistic traits exhibited significantly higher levels of cortisol.

    Aggression as a defensive mechanism

    Co-author David Reinhard commented that "even though narcissists have grandiose self-perceptions, they also have fragile views of themselves, and often resort to defensive strategies like aggression when their sense of superiority is threatened."

    "These kinds of coping strategies are linked with increased cardiovascular reactivity to stress and higher blood pressure, so it makes sense that higher levels of maladaptive narcissism would contribute to highly reactive stress response systems and chronically elevated levels of stress."

    The question remains why women seem to be less affected by this phenomenon. Konrath hypothesizes: "Given societal definitions of masculinity that overlap with narcissism-for example, the belief that men should be arrogant and dominant-men who endorse stereotypically male sex roles and who are also high in narcissism may feel especially stressed."

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